15 Reasons Why Employees Leave Their Jobs in 2024 (& What Makes Them Stay)
Shawna Simcik December 18, 2023 HR Trends, HR Strategy, Talent Management
While we’ve moved past the period referred to as the “Great Resignation,” companies are still learning about their employees’ needs. Employees are continuing to leave for better opportunities, even while the labor market and global economy are on shaky ground. And with more companies instating hiring freezes, it becomes even more important that organizations retain their current workforce.
In this guide, we’ll share with you the top reasons why employees will leave their jobs in 2024. We’ll also take a closer look at why employees stay, all to help you retain and develop your workforce.
According to a 2023 Pew Research Center Study, 49% of workers are unsatisfied with their current jobs. This leaves millions of employees potentially planning to jump ship in 2024. Overall, employees leave their jobs for a variety of reasons, and the decision to quit is often influenced by a combination of factors. Some of the most common reasons why people quit their jobs include:
When employees see a clear path for growth and advancement within the organization, they are more likely to invest their time and energy into their roles. Employees also may seek new opportunities if they feel their current role offers limited prospects for career advancement or skill development. To prevent this:
- Implement clear career development paths for all employees
- Create mentorship opportunities within the organization
- Share regular performance reviews to help achieve their career goals
Dissatisfaction with salary, benefits, or overall compensation packages can lead employees to explore other opportunities that offer better financial rewards. To retain your employees, ensure that you regularly review and adjust salaries to remain competitive in the market. Along with comprehensive benefits packages, consider:
- Non-monetary perks such as flexible work arrangements
- Wellness programs
- Recognition incentives to motivate employees to stay
Employees may leave their jobs if they feel the company culture does not align with their values, work style, or preferences. Preventing this should start before employees are even hired. During the hiring process, assess cultural fit to ensure alignment between the organization’s values and those of potential employees. Along with that, ensure current employees are aligned with the company culture by:
- Integrating cultural fit evaluations into the hiring process
- Actively seeking feedback from employees
- Assessing the company culture to identify areas for improvement
Employees experiencing burnout, excessive workloads, or chronic stress may feel overwhelmed and exhausted. This can negatively impact their mental and physical well-being. About six in ten workers (62%) place a high priority on paid time off. To combat this, while also setting realistic expectations for workloads, encourage employees:
- To take breaks
- Use vacation time
- Adopt a healthy work-life balance
A toxic work environment characterized by poor management, lack of communication, or interpersonal conflicts can drive employees to leave in search of a healthier workplace. To create a supportive atmosphere for all employees, make sure you have:
- Effective leadership
- Open communication
- Initiatives that promote employee well-being
Employees who feel undervalued or underappreciated for their contributions may become disengaged and eventually decide to leave. In fact, one in four unsatisfied workers say they rarely, or never get feedback from their managers. To ensure that employees feel valued and appreciated for their contributions:
- Implement recognition programs
- Provide regular feedback
- Acknowledge the big (and small) achievements
The numbers don’t lie — research has found that 57% of employees quit their jobs because of their boss. This shows that poor leadership can be a significant factor in employee dissatisfaction and turnover. Prevent bad leaders and managers from causing your employees to leave by:
- Investing in leadership development programs that will enhance their skills
- Fostering transparent communication, provide guidance, and show support
- Actively addressing leadership-related concerns among your workforce
Excessive work demands without corresponding support for work-life balance can contribute to burnout and prompt employees to seek roles with a more sustainable lifestyle. To find a healthy work-life balance for your organization:
- Consider offering flexible work schedules and remote work options
- Promote a culture that respects personal time
- Set realistic expectations around communications outside of regular work hours
In 2023, 15% of workers polled stated they felt “not at all satisfied” with their commute. Changes in personal circumstances, such as relocation or lengthy commutes, may prompt employees to seek new roles that better align with their geographic preferences. What’s key here is understanding employees’ circumstances. To assist your employees in dealing with this pain:
- Offer remote work option
- Provide support for employees facing relocation or long commutes
- Consider flexible work arrangements
More than one in five American workers say they are not at all satisfied with their opportunities for training and development at their current job. The absence of skill development and inadequate training programs can make employees feel stagnant in their careers, prompting them to seek other roles that offer continuous learning. To prevent employees from quitting due to this absence:
- Invest in ongoing training and development programs
- Provide opportunities for skill enhancement and career growth
- As a leader, show a commitment to employee learning and professional development
The departure of high-performing or well-regarded colleagues can create a widespread negative impact on team morale. If employees see their talented peers leaving, they may question the overall health of the organization or feel disheartened about their own growth prospects. To prevent this from having an impact on your remaining workforce:
- Conduct exit interviews to understand the reasons why an employee leaves
- Be honest with remaining employees about the departures
- Address concerns seriously and take steps to make improvements
Uncertainty about the company’s future, financial instability, RIFs, or frequent organizational restructuring can create an uneasy atmosphere, leading employees to explore more stable employment options. If your organization is going through a rough patch or restructuring, reassure your current employees by:
- Transparently communicating about the company’s status and future plans
- Providing support during times of change
- Involving employees in the decision-making processes (when possible)
Employees may also leave if they find their current roles unfulfilling or the job responsibilities do not align with their skills, interests, or career goals. To make sure your employees are engaged and not bored in their current roles, consider:
- Regularly checking in with employees to gauge job satisfaction
- Providing opportunities for employees to address concerns
- Ensuring that roles align with employees’ skills and interests
Life events, such as family obligations, health concerns, or other personal reasons, can influence an employee’s decision to leave their current job. Sometimes, there is not much that can be done when there is a change in an employee’s personal life. However, you can take steps to create an accommodating work environment that is empathic and supportive. Consider taking steps such as:
- Offering flexible work arrangements, such as part-time options or remote work
- Working with the employee to accommodate personal or family-related challenges
- Most importantly, showing empathy and understanding
When employees feel micromanaged or perceive a lack of trust in leadership, it can lead to dissatisfaction and a desire to leave. Employees value autonomy and the freedom to make decisions within their roles. Addressing these issues requires a proactive and holistic approach through strategies such as:
- Cultivating a culture of trust by empowering employees to make decisions in their areas of responsibility
- Fostering transparent communication between leaders and employees
- Clearly communicating expectations and goals while providing constructive feedback
Understanding why employees leave an organization is crucial, as it allows companies to identify and address potential issues that may contribute to turnover. Conversely, creating an environment that encourages employee retention involves cultivating a workplace where individuals find fulfillment and purpose in their roles. Here are some of the key reasons why employees stay at an organization:
Providing a balanced and flexible work environment is crucial for employee retention. 71% of employees who work from home most or some of the time say doing so helps them balance their work and personal lives. Acknowledging the importance of work-life balance, offering options like remote work or flexible hours enhances employee satisfaction and retention. This respect for individual needs also boosts loyalty.
In 2023, only 33% of workers were highly satisfied with their opportunities for promotion at their current jobs. Prioritizing career development at all levels of the organization fosters an environment where employees, seeing a clear growth path, are likely to commit long-term. Training, mentorship, and development initiatives show dedication to personal and career growth, promoting loyalty and motivation.
According to a 2023 Pew Research Center study, “80% of people who receive frequent feedback are also highly satisfied with the relationship with their manager or supervisor.” Recognizing and rewarding employee achievements is vital for retaining top talent. Various forms of recognition, including praise, awards, and incentives, create a positive feedback loop, enhancing morale and job satisfaction.
About 70% of workers extremely satisfied in their current jobs say they’re treated with respect at work and can be themselves, all or most of the time. This number supports that a positive, inclusive culture strengthens employee retention by fostering a sense of belonging and reducing stress. Prioritizing diversity creates an environment where employees feel valued. This not only retains talent but also attracts top professionals seeking inclusive workplace cultures.
55% of workers say they don’t have someone at work who they would consider a mentor. Offering mentorship and coaching programs supports employee retention by creating a supportive environment for individual growth. Personalized attention fosters loyalty, while valuable insights from mentors contribute to professional development. Coaching equips employees with tools to overcome challenges, further enhancing retention.
Employee retention is not just about avoiding the negative aspects that drive people away, it’s about creating a workplace that inspires loyalty, dedication, and a sense of pride in being a part of the organization. By addressing these aspects, companies can not only reduce employee turnover but also build a strong, committed workforce that contributes to the long-term success of an organization.
At Keystone Partners, we use decades of consulting expertise to create personalized solutions to propel the professional advancement of every individual across all levels of your company. With innovative leadership development programs, we aim to elevate employee engagement while enhancing the overall organizational culture. Collaborating closely with our consulting teams guarantees that your workforce acquires the essential skills required to nurture their careers, fostering excellence and continual growth.
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